With technology now being so commonplace in your classrooms, teachers are starting to branch off from traditional programs like Word and Excel, and are beginning to use newer, more innovative apps in their day-to-day interactions with their students. In this list from MindShift, they compile 50 apps that teachers around the country have found interesting and informative for themselves and their students. Check out an excerpt of the list below, and check out the full rundown to see which apps might be right for you. And, if you see any app not on the list that you've found useful, be sure to let us know in the comments!
APPS TO ACQUIRE INFORMATION
Skype: Educators love simple tools that they can use in multiple ways. Skype is a great way to virtually bring experts into the classroom and to help students make real-world connections to what they’re learning. “If we are talking about acquiring knowledge, Skype is brilliant,” Luhtala said.
Google Hangouts: Similarly, Google Hangouts is a great tool for connecting with other educators, students and classes. It’s easy to integrate with other Google products like Google Calendar and easy to send notifications inviting people to the conversation. “It is a highly utilitarian tool because of all the functionalities,” Luhtala said.
Junaio: This augmented reality app is a great way to connect digital media content to a physical object. Unlike similar products, it will scan both QR codes and bar codes. It can be used in connection to maps, to find local events and in any number of other creative ways. “It’s really a cool way to discover your world,” Luhtala said. It works only on iPhones, but is free.
Layar: Another augmented reality tool, several elementary school teachers found it worked better for little kids than Aurasma, which requires individual accounts that can get complicated with young learners. Luhtala has used augmented reality to attach student-created video book reviews to titles in the library. Compatible with iPhones and iPads, this app is free.
iLearn United States: This game-like app has a learn mode and a game mode. Students acquire facts about a state like its state flower and flag and then use that information in a game, scoring points against a clock. It works on iPhone and iPad and the lite version is free.
Stack the States: This app allows kids to play with virtual flashcards in a fun easy way. Once they know the information, they put them in their “stack.” It works on iPhones and iPads and the lite version is free.
Kahoot: This app allows teachers to create quizzes that are more fun and interactive than what can be done simply in Google Forms. “Kahoot is an opportunity for teachers to create much more engaging materials,” Luhtala said. It also allows teachers to customize quizzes for students’ needs, changing details down to a very granular level. It is Web-based and free.
Plickers: One easy way many educators are using technology in the classroom is to have students respond to short questions during a lesson to test for understanding. That works fine when all kids have a smartphone or device, but Plickers is a solution for more low-tech classrooms. Teachers issue cards with choices on them (A,B,C,D). The teacher poses the question and students hold up the card corresponding to the answer they want to give. The teacher then uses her phone or iPad to scan across the room. Plickers registers the results and feeds it all into a database. It can be used on iPhone and Android devices as well as on the Web and is free.
ABCya: This app offers an interactive game-based learning environment for language. It is designed for grades K-5 and features beautiful design and crisp graphics. It’s also Web-based and uses Flash, but students can log in at home as well. This tool is Web-based and free.
Spelling City: The app offers 25 online spelling games. “It’s totally customizable so [the teacher] can have control over how to tie the word into a sentence,” Luhtala said. Teachers love this because they can connect the vocabulary to other classroom content and share what’s going on in class with parents. It is Web-based, as well as available on iPad and iPhone. The basic version is free.
Epic!: This is essentially a huge e-book library. “They have amazing stuff,” Luhtala said. The collection includes everything from picture books to graphic novels and even junior novels. One teacher described Epic as “Netflix for kids books” because it offers thousands of titles. The books are for ages 4 and up and are fairly interactive. It is free and works on iPads and iPhones.
Biblionasium: Part learning management system, part conversation starter, Biblionasium is like GoodReads for elementary and middle school students. Teachers can create classrooms within the site, monitor students’ reading and see conversations around a book. This is a great way for younger kids to practice interacting in an online forum that is designated for them and their books. The site is Web-based and FREE.